Not me. I actually miss the days of 'being bored.' My kids however are spoiled by the easy access to the lazy stimulation of the TV. We battle constantly on the need to reduce TV watching and restore peace in the household...especially since I work from home. I have a couple of concerns here that I want to tackle as we start the summer months...today, although it is Saturday, is Day 1 of summer break. We have a number of different camps and trips planned for the kids (thank God I am married to a great wife/mother of my children), but there are still quite a few days to account for here.
- I believe boredom is a good thing for kids. I firmly believe that creativity and the learning that can stem from the experimentation of using limited resources (one reason I lament that now I can afford my toys (read: gadgets) I fear that I can acquire them faster than I wring maximum value out of them).
- I do believe it is my responsability as a parent to find the right balance between providing for my children and forcing them to discover things on their own.
- I believe that a mind not excercised is a mind that is going to slow in its development...I fear that summer is where this can set us back as Americans....why is school not year round?
- I know that since I work full time and my wife works part time...anything I 'propose' as for structure or activities that I think the kids should be doing on a regular basis is largely going to fall on my wife for execution. In other words..if I don't have her buy in early on....forget it.
So what to do?
Camps are the obvioius first choice in the summer but I don't want to get carried away and don't want to spend too much. Our Church, Prestonwood has some great options. I volunteer as Tech Director in the Children's ministry...we have a group called iShine performing tonight for the kids and I really like this message. They also have their very popular and very good Vacation Bible School starting very soon and Zack LOVES Camp WOW which is coming up very soon.
One other Camp here in Dallas that I was super excited about for Zack...I even took him downtown for a tour (so I could check it out) was with Dallas iMedia. This is the Community Access Television group and they do some great stuff with kids throughout the summer in these one week camps that teach about TV production from set design, to (minor) writing, to running camera, live switching and post production editing. Does that not sound like a blast! They call it 'Summer Media Camp', been doing it for 19 years and Chris Connoly whom I visited with seems like a fantastic guy who knows media and really loves kids.
Couple of other things I was considering to keep the mind sharp.
- Summer reading. Not sure how formal to get with this...I really want my kids to enjoy reading as much as I do. We require them to read at least 20 minutes a day currently and I am hoping that it will catch on as they realize what a huge world they can access in this medium.
- Online Summer School. I just started poking into this. I like the idea of a computer based, age appropriate excercises that the kids do each day....could be very school like but I consider it good for keeping the brain sharp. I found 'Time4Learning' and it appears to do what I would like. I have not run this past Angelica yet and she may shoot it down. They have all the basic interactive game based excercises that could be good for keeping the gears moving. About $15./month which is MUCH cheaper than tutoring...so I think it is worth at least checking out the 14 day trial.
- Summer Journal - I LOVE this idea. Its free but it takes some follow up and pushing I am thinking from us at least initially. Check out the write up by Margo Dill.
- Handy list of 'Idea Generators' - I am the worst at coming up with ideas my kids like when they come up and say 'I'm Bored.' I am jealous of those seemingly energetic parents who are real creative and don't mind elaborate planning for their activities. I have often thought that I should have a list of quickie things I can suggest and or have at the ready. I found some pretty good items on 'Telling it like it is'.
So what do you think? Do we share the same problems? What do your plans include this summer (or perhaps purposefullly NOT include?)
Please share below!